Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Flyers likely to target goalies in draft

General manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers may use two of their 10 draft selections this weekend on goalies - and it's fair to assume that Matej Tomek is on their radar.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)Read more

General manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers may use two of their 10 draft selections this weekend on goalies - and it's fair to assume that Matej Tomek is on their radar.

Tomek, a Slovakia native who had a strong season in the North American Hockey League, was recruited by new Flyers coach Dave Hakstol and plans to attend North Dakota.

"We're not going to pick a guy way ahead of where we should, just so we get a goalie," Hextall said last week. "We want to get a guy at the right spot. But there's urgency there for us; we need to get going."

Steve Mason, coming off a career-best season that was limited to 51 games because of injuries, is just 27 and has two years remaining on his contract. But beyond Mason, the Flyers' goalie situation is iffy.

Anthony Stolarz, 21, selected in the second round (45th overall) of the 2012 draft, had an up-and-down season with the AHL's Phantoms. The 6-foot-6 Stolarz is young enough to still blossom, but there are no guarantees he will develop into an NHL starter.

That's one of the reasons Hextall and scouting director Chris Pryor are searching for goalies this weekend in Sunrise, Fla.

The GM likes this year's goalie class, which features Ilya Samsonov, Daniel "Darth" Vladar, and Mackenzie Blackwood.

"I don't know if it's great, but I think it's good," Hextall said.

Tomek is ranked fifth among North American goalies, according to Central Scouting.

Many scouts consider Samsonov the draft's top goalie; he could become the first goalie selected in the first round since 2012.

The Flyers have the seventh and 29th picks in Friday's first round. It seems more likely that Hextall will select a goalie Saturday in the second (pick No. 61, acquired in the Kimmo Timonen trade) or third rounds.

Talented goalies like Tomek, Callum Booth, Samuel Montembeault, Adin Hill, and Felix Sandstrom could be available at that time.

"Look at the history of goalies," said Hextall, noting that Nashville's Pekka Rinne (eighth round, 2004) and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist (seventh round, 2000) were late-round selections. "You can pick good goalies in any round. But I think once you draft a goalie, he's probably a good four years away.

"We need to get some goalies in our system, and it's a focus of ours. I wouldn't be opposed to drafting two this year."

The Flyers have drafted only five goalies in the first or second round.

Hextall said it's challenging to draft and develop a goalie because it can be difficult to judge his mental makeup.

"We have Neil Little there, our goalie scout, so you hope he's got some insight," said Hextall, a goalie selected by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 1982 draft. "I've seen some of the goalies, but it's almost like you see a guy on a regular basis and then you start figuring out: 'Does he make big saves at big times? Does he bounce back from a bad game?' All the little things that add up to being mentally strong.

"You can't hide a goalie. He's in the net. He's either good or he's not good. A defenseman, you might project him as a No. 3 and he falls to a 5 or a 6. You can put him out against third and fourth liners, and he can still play. . . . I think a mentally weak forward or defenseman might not be as good as you would have liked him to be, but they can still play."

Hextall said "goalies are risky, period," and that's why he thinks they aren't drafted early.

Top Goalies in the Draft


The Flyers plan to pick a goalie or two in this weekend's draft in Sunrise, Fla. Here are the top eight prospects:

Player, league, height, weight, GAA, save percentage.

Ilya Samsonov, Russian Junior, 6-3, 203, 2.66, .918

Samsonov displays great quickness and maturity. He is expected to be the first goalie selected.

Mackenzie Blackwood, OHL, 6-4, 215, 3.09, .906

He has great athleticism and scored high in fitness testing at the scouting combine.

Daniel Vladar, Czech Rep. Junior, 6-5, 185, 2.76, .925

He will play for Chicago in the USHL and get acclimated to smaller rinks.

Callum Booth, QMJHL, 6-3, 199, 3.05, .900

Known for his terrific instincts, Booth is listed No. 2 among North American goalies by Central Scouting.

Matej Tomek, NAHL, 6-2, 180, 1.83, .928

Headed to Dave Hakstol's former school (North Dakota), he is projected as a second- or third-rounder.

Samuel Montembeault, QMJHL, 6-3, 173, 2.59, .891

He led the QMJHL with 33 wins and displayed poise under pressure.

Adin Hill, WHL, 6-4, 198, 2.81, .921

Consistent and quick, he could be a bargain if he lasts to the fourth round.

Felix Sandstrom, Sweden Junior, 6-2, 191, 2.63, .907

When healthy, he has the talent and instincts to become a top-notch goalie.

- Sam Carchidi